July 30, 2020  (Web Review)

Jaws: 45th Anniversary Limited Edition

Universal, 124 min., PG, Blu-ray(4K Ultra HD): $34.98, Jun. 6

Reviewer rating: 4.0/4

During Martin Scorsese’s campaign for film preservation, the filmmaker would point to Steven Spielberg’s 1975 Jaws as a prime example of a high-profile movie of recent coinage and great public affection that was already color-shifting to faded gray-pinks. Universal’s deluxe Blu-ray Jaws reissue should remedy that, with restoration and 4K UHD disk release accompanying the separate Blu-ray disc. In a lenticular box that also holds a booklet that includes international poster art, storyboards, and blueprints for the famously malfunctioning Bruce-the-shark animatronic. In addition to the movie itself, the package positively swims in a plethora of behind-the-scenes and making-of material. The 20th-anniversary of The Making of Jaws documentary from 1995, from filmmaker Laurent Bouzoreau, is present, a onetime main sales point of Universal’s Jaws laserdisc edition; it is practically a scene-by-scene walk-through with Spielberg and the cast and crew. Also enclosed is Erik Hollander’s 2012 feature The Shark is Still Working: The Impact and Legacy of Jaws (narrated by Roy Scheider) which further recaptures and updates the Jaws phenomenon, especially at shooting location Martha’s Vineyard. At one point The Shark is Still Working starts to focus on behind the scenes footage of The Making of Jaws, which in terms of fan nerdism practically, uh, jumps the shark. Both docus have interviews with original novel author Peter Benchley, who took it philosophically that his breakout-success debut lost a major subplot in its transition to the screen, an adulterous love triangle between Police Chief Martin Brodie, his wife Ellen, and marine biologist Matt Hooper, to be rewritten as a streamlined killer-ocean-creature scare film. Jaws gave birth to the concept of the summer “event” blockbuster, and it is also little appreciated today that Universal unrolled a smart saturation-advertising campaign to accompany the delirious word-of-mouth that helped the film’s outstanding success. Galleries here showcase Jaws art from around the world. Further viewer bait is deleted scenes and a UK TV report from the Martha’s Vineyard set interviewing the young Spielberg. Viewers should be in for a feast. A must-have catch for collections. Highly recommended. (C. Cassady)